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Sri Lankan writer wins the Booker Prize 2022 for "The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida"

Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka, wins Booker Prize 2022

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka, telling the story about the brutal civil war in Sri Lanka, has won the Booker Prize 2022.

The Novel “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” is about a photographer who wakes up dead, with “seven moons” or a week to ask his friends and loved ones to find his photos and expose the brutality of the island's sectarian conflict.

Accepting the prize, Karunatilaka said, “My hope for Seven Moons is this, that it is read in a Sri Lanka that has understood that these ideas of corruption and race-baiting and cronyism have not worked and will never work.”

The author said he decided a decade ago to write a ghost story where the dead would come live to settle the debate over how many civilians died in the conflict.

"Sri Lankans are a nation that specializes in finding a sense of humor even amid crisis," and “I hope that Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookshop, next to the dragons, the unicorns [and] will not be mistaken for realism or political satire,” he added.

After a unanimous verdict, Head judge Neil MacGregor praised the "scope and the skill, the daring, the audacity and hilarity" of the novel, calling it an "afterlife noir" that "takes the reader on a rollercoaster journey through life and death" from the point of an individual life.

According to critics, this novel successfully transports readers on a delightful voyage through life and death while evoking a range of feelings.  

Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka receives the Booker Prize 2022 from Camilla, the Queen Consort for his novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida.

The award consists of £50,000 ($57,000) and the prize was presented by Camilla, the Queen Consort

Setting his victory in the context of the ongoing T20 Cricket World Cup, Karunathilake said,  "I wrote this book for you guys. This is a win; This is a win at a time when the country was defeated, recently we lost to Nambia. It doesn't matter. The people of Sri Lanka are suffering a lot today, but I have no weapons to overcome that suffering. Accepting this victory, however, let's move on to winning the T20 World Cup."

The second Sri Lankan to win the Booker Prize, the 47-year-old has also authored journalism, children's books, films, and rock songs.

Sri Lanka previously received this award in 1992, for the famous "The English Patient" written by Michael Ondaatje. This later became a successful movie.


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